Trip Report From Our Summer 2022 Visit To Disneyland Paris, Including Full Reviews & Planning Tips
We're back from our Disneyland Paris trip! We're definitely feeling those Disney blues, but we had a fantastic time away. The weather was incredible, the food delicious and the parks were just as magical as we remember.
In today's post, we're recapping the trip and giving our honest reviews on the Eurotunnel, Disney's Hotel Cheyenne, the restaurants we ate at including Walt's and Downton Restaurant in the Art of Marvel Hotel, the new shows, the 30th anniversary celebrations and just a general idea of what visiting Disneyland Paris in 2022 is really like. We're also letting you in on some amazing new tips to help you plan your perfect trip to Disneyland Paris in 2022 and 2023. So let's get started.
Let's Start With The Eurotunnel & Driving In France
As we mentioned in our trip announcement post, we decided to drive to France due to the chaos surrounding flying in the UK since 2020. Given the situation with baggage handling and cancelled flights right now, we are very pleased we did. We set off in our car on the Saturday and met very little traffic. We stopped over in a hotel in Dover before making our way to the Eurotunnel early Sunday morning. If you're coming from the north of the UK, we would highly recommend breaking up the journey with a hotel stay.
We had driven to France twice before this trip, both times before the pandemic and Brexit, so we were unsure what to expect. But we had nothing to be worried about.
We arrived at the tunnel around 9am Sunday and there were no queues whatsoever. We were able to drive straight up to the check in machine and smoothly through passport control. We uploaded our API (advance passenger information) and our Covid-19 vaccine details a few days before our journey, which made the check in process much quicker. The process and the journey itself were incredibly smooth and we couldn't recommend using Eurotunnel enough.
Once in France, the roads to Disneyland Paris were very easy to navigate and the toll road ticket machines, very easy to use. You simply take a ticket at the first machine. When you arrive at the second machine at the end of the toll road, you put the ticket in the first slot (on the left) and either use the contactless payment option or insert your bank card in the second slot (on the right).
The Eurotunnel crossing back to the UK was just as smooth, but we hit major traffic in the south of England. We travelled back on a Friday and would definitely recommend a Saturday or Sunday travel day instead for a smoother journey.
All in all, we were very happy we chose to drive and would highly recommend using Eurotunnel (not sponsored, just very happy customers)
Airbnb & Disney's Hotel Cheyenne Review
As we were visiting both Disneyland Paris and the city of Paris in one short trip, we decided to book both an Airbnb and an onsite Disney hotel.
We arrived in Marne-la-Vallée (the town just outside Disneyland Paris) Sunday afternoon and checked in to our Airbnb. In terms of location, the apartment was just around the corner from The Adagio Hipark Serris (which we would recommend if you prefer to stay in a hotel over an Airbnb) The apartment was small but a great price and had free parking on the street below. It was a short 15 minute walk to Disney Village, so a great option if you're planning on staying offsite. As a base for the trip, the apartment was perfect and we would stay again on a similar trip.
We then spent 2 days exploring Paris. It felt so good to be back in our favourite city. If you're planning a Disneyland Paris trip and haven't visited the city yet, we would highly recommend making some time to see Paris. We have a couple of Paris planning blog posts for you to have a read through, with plenty more on the way soon.
After 2 days in Paris, we checked into Disney's Hotel Cheyenne, one of our favourite onsite hotels. The Wild West / Cowboy theming of the Cheyenne is so fun and different and what a Disney hotel should be. The rooms are Toy Story themed, with curtains the same pattern as Woody's shirt, a fun cowboy boot lamp and with a Woody, Jessie and Bullseye border around the walls and also on a prints hung on the wall. On this visit, we noticed they had also changed up the toiletries too from Mickey themed to a Woody's Roundup design.
The rooms are quite spacious and much more modern (in our opinion) than the rooms at Sequoia Lodge. The hotel isn't too spread out either, so all rooms are fairly close to the hotel amenities. Each room includes black out curtains, a safe, plenty of drawer space and an area to store your suitcases and hang up a few clothes. The beds and bedding are extremely comfortable too. There is also a bathtub and a hairdryer in the bathroom with a large mirror and plenty of counter space.
This was our 4th stay at Disney's Hotel Cheyenne and we still love it. This hotel is the perfect balance between budget and quality and we couldn't recommend it enough. To read more about this hotel, visit the dedicated page on the Disneyland Paris website here
What's Disneyland Paris Like In 2022?
In a word - busy! The magic is definitely back at Disneyland Paris (more on that later) but if you're visiting in 2022 (or 2023) prepare for the crowds. We visited midweek, out of all the school holidays and before the new Avengers Campus opens and the parks were still very crowded. In the middle of the day we saw lines for Big Thunder Mountain at 60 minutes, Crush's Coaster hit 90 minutes and Princess Pavilion with a 150 minute wait. Now, these are the more popular attractions across the parks, but when the wait time for Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours and Indiana Jones reaches 45 minutes, you know it's busy. Then you add to that the opening of Avengers Campus on July 20th and a lot of people putting off their 2020 and 2021 trips until now, the parks are going to be as busy as they get this year.
We wanted to be honest about how busy it is, but please don't let the crowds put you off booking your trip. We'll let you in to a little tip that will make a big difference to your trip: Book a Disney hotel and use Extra Magic Time (EMT). EMT allows onsite guests and annual pass holders to enter both parks an hour before they open to other guests. Using EMT, we were able to walk straight on to ride Big Thunder Mountain twice and ride Hyper Space Mountain, Star Tours and Buzz with 0 minute wait times - isn't that crazy!! We cannot guarantee this for every trip, but you can be sure to experience much lower crowds during EMT. So if you're planning your trip, book a Disney Hotel for your stay and make use of this massive perk!
We spent our mornings dashing from ride to ride, doing as many as we could before the parks hit peak capacity. When the queues became too long, we then spent our time watching the fantastic shows, exploring the quiet areas of the parks and looking in all the shops.
Is The Magic Back In Disneyland Paris?
If you're worried the magic has gone as a result of the events of 2020, you don't need to worry. This was our first trip since January 2020 and we felt a different energy in the parks. Everyone seemed more relaxed and were enjoying themselves more than usual. There were lots of families dancing to the anniversary show music and you could sense people really enjoying themselves. The same can be said for the cast members, they were loving every second of their job and it really showed.
So yes, expect Disneyland Paris to be busy in 2022, but also expect it to be one of your most memorable trips too.
The 30th Anniversary Celebrations
The 30th anniversary made this trip so much fun. The celebrations have brought an incredible energy to the parks and we loved every second of it. Iridescent pinks and purples make up most of the parks colour scheme this year and that of it's new character costumes, merchandise and even snacks. There are also a number of different 30th anniversary merchandise ranges that have been released, so there is bound to be a style you like.
The "Dream...and Shine Brighter" show might be the most joyful performance in any Disney park and is a must-see show. As soon as the music starts, most guests start dancing and singing along in a way we haven't seen in Disneyland Paris before. Even if you're not a character person, you can't help but be swept up in the party atmosphere and the joy this show creates. We loved it!!
We would also recommend setting some time aside to explore the unique Gardens of Wonder, a beautiful display of 30 kinetic sculptures dotted around the castle hub, depicting characters such as Cinderella, Dumbo, Maleficent, Merida and Baymax. They're a great addition to the parks and we hope they stick around after the anniversary.
Disney D-Light is a real highlight of the celebrations, where dozens of drones take to the skies to create some beautiful imagery behind the castle.
All in all, the anniversary celebrations are 100% worth booking a trip to Disneyland Paris in 2022, a brilliant addition to the parks.
Shows in 2022
The shows Disneyland Paris have put on for 2022 are fantastic. As we've just mentioned, the "Dream...and Shine Brighter" show might be the most joyful performance in any Disney park and is a must-see show. We loved it!! There are plenty of performances each day in the castle hub and the show even runs in a modified format in the rain or in extreme heat. This show is great to watch from any angle, but if you would like a spot near the 4 stages, we would recommend arriving about 15 minutes before the show begins.
Mickey and the Magician is back and just as magical as we remembered. French speaking Mickey may be the cutest character in any of the shows too. We make sure to add this to our itinerary each trip, we love it so much. You can catch this show in the Animagique theatre in Walt Disney Studios. We would recommend arriving about 20 minutes before the performance to guarantee a seat.
Our favourite moment of entire the trip, however, was watching The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands. It was so good, we made time to watch twice over 2 days. This show is incredible; with live singers, percussionists, dancers and acrobats performing highlights from The Lion King. We would highly recommend arriving at the Frontierland Theatre about 40 minutes before the performance starts, to guarantee a seat. The Frontierland Theatre is huge and has a large capacity, but the show is extremely popular so arriving early is essential.
Was The Meal Plan Worth The Money?
For us, absolutely! If you've never considered a meal plan before, we highly recommend looking at the different options and what restaurants are included. The meal plans have changed since 2020 and we feel as though you get much more for your money, especially on a shorter trip. With the restaurants we had planned on eating at, the plus full board dining plan saved us a lot of money and allowed us to eat at some new restaurants we hadn't tried before.
The full board plus meal plan cost €79pp per night (which for us was only a 1 night stay). This meal plan included a voucher for the hotel buffet breakfast and 3 other meal vouchers. We were able to enjoy the hotel buffet breakfast, a 3 course meal and a drink at both Bistrot Chez Rémy and Walt's, as well as the buffet and a drink at Downton Restaurant. Let's do the math:
• Bistrot Chez Rémy. 3 course menu (drink not included) = €42
• Walt's. 3 course menu (drink not included) = €42
• Downton buffet (drink not included) = €42
Total cost for these 3 meals without a meal plan = €129pp
Price of the full board plus meal plan = €79pp
Take into consideration that the dining plan also includes the buffet breakfast at your hotel and each meal comes with a drink too. As you can see, we saved a lot of money. This might not be the case for you, so we would highly recommend you make your dining reservations first, then do the math. You can add a meal plan to your hotel booking at any time, so there is no rush.
We were able to try a few new restaurants this trip and revisited some old favourites. We can honestly say that we didn't have a bad meal this entire trip. The quality and variety of food available at each meal was excellent and we would highly recommend all 4 of these restaurants.
• Hunter's Grill at Sequoia Lodge. The buffet at Hunter's Grill is excellent and is a hidden gem when it comes to dining. We dined here when staying at Sequoia Lodge in January 2020 and it was one of the best meals we've had at Disneyland Paris. This visit did not disappoint. The cast members here were incredibly friendly and really looked after us. The buffet is all you can eat and the quality and variety of food was fantastic. We also tried some of the new additions for the 30th anniversary, including the Mickey shaped crispy potatoes, 30th anniversary macarons and a Minnie Mouse mousse dessert. We would highly recommend Hunter's Grill if you're looking for a cosy, quiet buffet restaurant with excellent food and friendly service.
Price: €38pp. Included in some meal plans.
• Bistrot Chez Rémy in the Studios Park. Ratatouille is one of our favourite Disney Pixar films, so this had to go on our list of restaurants. We ate here in January 2020 and just loved it. And again, it didn't disappoint. The theming is fantastic (Disneyland Paris knows how to theme a restaurant!) and the Ratatouille soundtrack playing in the background makes this a wonderful dining experience.
We started with the seasonal soup, which was pea on our visit (pictured below) and the duck with thyme flower and pistachio pâté en croûte with fig jam. We then both enjoyed a grilled steak with brie and chef sauces (both sauces were delicious) Our steaks were served alongside a dish of ratatouille and some French fries (pictured below) We finished off the meal with the apple tart (pictured below) and a bistrot delight - flaky pastry, crispy vanilla cream puffs, whipped cream and red berries.
We enjoyed our meal and the quality of food was good, but in our opinion, the quality of the food was not as high as the buffet restaurants But we would always recommend Bistrot Chez Rémy for it's theming and slower paced dining experience.
Price: €42pp for 3 course set menu. Included in some meal plans.
• Downton Restaurant at Disney's Hotel New York - Art Of Marvel. We were very excited to get a reservation as Downton Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Disneyland Paris and tables book up quickly. This was our favourite meal of the trip. We really enjoyed the selection of food available, with American, Chinese and Italian dishes on offer, and the quality of the food was excellent. The eggplant parmigiana in particular was incredible and worth adding to your plate if you decide to eat here. We were completely spoiled for choice and will be booking a table again on our next trip just to try the dishes we missed. The desserts were tasty too and a number of them were marvel themed - a great touch for a Disney restaurant.
Price: €42pp. Included in some meal plans.
• Walt's - An American Restaurant in Disneyland Park. If you read our trip announcement post, you may be wondering why we didn't include Walt's on our list of restaurants. At the time of writing the trip announcement, we were unable to get a reservation. The restaurant had recently reopened for the first time since 2020 and tables booked up quickly. But, we were lucky enough to grab a reservation a couple of weeks before the trip. So it's always worth continuing to check the app for any reservations that may pop up.
Walt's lived up to the hype and became our favourite table service restaurant at Disneyland Paris. The restaurant lobby was lovely, with a detailed bust of Walt, a beautiful piano and many pictures of Walt and his family dotted around the space. Upstairs, the restaurant was divided into different themed dining rooms with each one's decor based on one of Disneyland Park's lands. The atmosphere was certainly different from our other meals this trip. Children are welcome and there were families in the restaurant, but Walt's has a more "grown-up" feel.
The quality of food was excellent as was the presentation. We started with the sweet corn soup which came with Isigny crème fraîche, smoked popcorn and pastrami (pictured below) and the Walldorf salad with Roquefort and a lemon and thyme vinaigrette. We then enjoyed mac and cheddar cheese, with pastrami and shiitake mushrooms (pictured below) and an amazing chilli con carne dish, which was served alongside tortilla chips, cheddar and Isigny crème fraîche, red onion, coriander, white rice and kidney beans. For dessert we ordered lemon meringue pie (pictured below) and the celebration cake, white chocolate mousse, strawberry and almond shortbread. Every aspect of our meal was delicious - the chilli being the stand out dish which we would highly recommend trying and the lemon meringue pie being the cutest dessert we enjoyed on this trip.
Overall, we would highly recommend Walt's for a slow paced, relaxed lunch to break up a busy fun-filled day in the parks.
Price: €42pp for 3 course set menu. Included in some meal plans.
Oh the snacks! We would have loved to have tried more of the many snacks released for the 30th anniversary, but with only 2 days in the parks and being on the dining plan meant we were limited in how many we could eat. But the 3 we tried were great!
With temperatures between 28°C - 34°C on this trip, we needed to cool off. And there was no better way to do this than with a Mickey ice cream bar. This Mickey shaped snack is popular in the American parks, but Disneyland Paris has recently added this cute snack to it's menus. We weren't expecting too much from this, but the ice cream was really tasty and we enjoyed a couple of these over the trip. These can be found all over the parks. We bought one from New York Style Sandwiches in Disney Village and from a snack cart in Fantasyland.
The hotel breakfast at Hotel Cheyenne *should* have served Mickey waffles but there were none available on the day of our visit. Thankfully, we found a place in Adventureland selling this cute snack. 3 warm Mickey waffles are served with either cream and marshmallows (pictured below) or with a generous helping of Nutella - delicious!
The final snack we tried was a brightly coloured sweet cone from The Old Mill in Fantasyland. The waffle cone was lined with white chocolate and filled with juicy pineapple chunks, a very tasty whipped cream and topped with 2 chocolate discs to look like Mickey Mouse. Honestly, we chose this snack because it was cute but were surprised by how light and refreshing it was. We'll be sure to pick up another on our next trip.
What Would We Do Differently?
As you have probably gathered by this rather long trip report (if you've made it this far - well done!) we truly had a magical time and loved every second of it. However, there are a few things that we would go back and change if we could. Hopefully, you can learn from our mistakes and have an even better time.
01. We would not use Extra Magic Time in Walt Disney Studios. Even though we were able to ride Crush's Coaster in under 20 minutes by arriving just after Extra Magic Time began, our time would have been better spent in Disneyland Park. Being able to ride Big Thunder Mountain twice with no queue was a big time saver. We were then able to ride Buzz, Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain with hardly any queuing at all. Next time, we would spend our Extra Magic Time both mornings in Disneyland Park and buy premier access for Crush to ride later in the day without the 90 minute queue.
02. For our next summer trip, we would schedule more down time. We were up early to make use of EMT and the fireworks began at 11pm. By the time we had watched the fireworks, walked back to our hotel and fell into bed, it was midnight. That's a long time to be up for a theme park holiday. We scheduled long lunches and time to rest in the shade, but next time we would head back to the room for an hour to rest and reset. We would NEVER do this when the park hours are shorter, but we were feeling it on our journey home. So if you need a rest, make sure to take it.
03. The last thing we would change, would be to travel home on a Saturday or Sunday. The drive to Paris on Sunday morning was perfect; the roads were quiet and we could take the journey at our own pace. But we travelled home on Friday and it was a very different journey. The trip was going smoothly until we were back in the UK. The traffic was terrible and made the journey so much longer. Next time we choose to drive, we will either plan to travel home on the Sunday or book a hotel back in the UK near the Eurotunnel.
We love to read people's trip reports and we hope you enjoyed reading ours. It's been great to reflect back on the trip and think how lucky we were to have been able to go. Hopefully this will help some of you planning your next trip to Disneyland Paris. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment box below and let's talk all things Disney.
We have plenty more planning posts on the way, so make sure to subscribe to our email list here to be notified when they go live on the blog.